Six in ten Tory members think government taxes and spends too much

Adam McDonnellResearch Director of Political and Social Research
July 14, 2022, 11:14 AM GMT+0

Those eligible to vote in the leadership election also tend to think businesses have to pay too much tax

As the leadership campaign for the next Conservative leader kicks off, many candidates have pledged significant tax cuts, ranging from cutting fuel duty, to scrapping the proposed NI rise. While some commentators have questioned the amount of money such cuts would cost, these pledges will likely be music to the ears of the party membership, who overwhelmingly feel taxes are too high.

In a trade-off between taxation and public spending, six in ten (61%) Conservative party members think the current government taxes and spends too much. This is compared to only 7% who think they tax too little and spend too little on public services. Three in ten (28%) think they get the balance about right. Given this is the group that will ultimately decide who becomes Britain’s next Prime Minister, it is maybe unsurprising why so many of the candidates have come out so strongly against the current level of taxation.

Among the general public, opinion is more mixed. A third of all adults in Britain (35%) say that the government is taxing and spending too much, compared to a 23% who think the opposite. One in seven (14%) think they get the balance right.

The Conservative party membership is completely at odds with the public when it comes to corporation tax, another tax that some candidates have pledged to slash. More than four in ten Tory members (44%) think businesses have to pay too much tax, compared to 16% who think they do not pay enough already. By contrast, the British public do not think businesses pay enough tax by 49% to 9%.

Cuts to corporation tax probably won’t go down too well with Conservative voters either, with just one in nine (11%) of those who voted for the party in 2019 thinking businesses pay too much tax. This group are far more likely to think they do not pay enough (41%) or the current level is about right (29%).

See the full results here

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